Memorable Manitobans: Annie May McLachlan (1895-1991)
Educator, missionary, humanitarian.
Born at Pipestone on 3 November 1895, daughter of Rachel Ann Jackson (1863-1939) and Archibald Fraser McLachlan (1864-1941), she studied at Brandon College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1917. She served as Principal of the Pipestone Intermediate School (1918-1920), taught history at Virden Collegiate (1921-1923), and in 1924 moved to Tokyo, Japan at the behest of the Women’s Missionary Society.
She worked as a teacher and missionary at private girls’ schools at Shizuoka and Yamanashi from 1925 until the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1942. She was placed under house arrest at Shizuoka and returned to Canada later that year. Her return coincided with the relocation of Japanese Canadians from the British Columbia coastal region. She worked with the people interned at Tashme, British Columbia until its closure in 1947. She then returned to Japan and resumed teaching at the Shizuoka Eiwa Girls’ School, remaining there until 1955.
In 1952 she was asked to help rebuild the church at Haibara, Japan. With her help, the church sponsored an institution for mentally challenged youth and adults called Yamaboto. In 1963, when she returned to Canada, she worked at the Soowhalie reserve at Chilliwack, British Columbia. In the 1970s, she organized the Vedder Project, which helped Indigenous peoples get better education and improve access to health care and nutrition programs. In 1987 the Brandon University Alumni Association awarded her with the Distinguished Service Award.
She died unmarried at Chilliwack, British Columbia on 13 October 1991. In 1992, the Japanese government posthumously awarded her the Order of the Sacred Treasure in recognition of her service in Japan.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Trails Along the Pipestone, RM of Pipestone History Project, c1981, page 381.
Brandon University Alumni News, “92 Year Old Woman Receives Award,” 31 March 1987.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Chilliwack Progress, 23 October 1991, page A6.
“Canadian missionary awarded posthumous order by Japanese government,” Consulate General of Japan, Vancouver, British Columbia, 18 June 1992.
Obituary, Nikkei Voice, July 1994.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Blair Galston for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 December 2021